Friday Frivolity: A (voyeuristic?) glimpse into the lives of others... Post Secret and Found Magazine

Tomorrow I'm going to be hosting a blog swap with Carrie from It's Frugal Being Green, so I figured we'd have our moment of frivolity a day early this week... with a surreptitious peak into the lives of others. *cue eerie music now*

Practically the whole blog culture (and one might argue, the whole internet) is one massive carefree voyeur fest, with everyone looking over each others shoulders and noticing the moment anyone's hair style changes or relationship ends... but certain sites have made a veritable art out of peering into souls. Some of these souls are unaware of observation, and others cater to it and put on a bit of a show to keep the watchers absorbed. It's a form of entertainment, certainly, but potentially also a source of perspective that generates compassion. It's through those bifocal lenses that we're now going to take a look at two of these quite purely voyeuristic sites.

Post Secret more or less epitomizes the bipolar dynamic of morbid curiosity existing side-by-side with compassion and hope for the future. With a weekly supply of anonymous secrets confined to the space of a postcard, thousands of faceless individuals have in essence placed on display 4x6 inch snippets of the human psyche, in all the complex jumble of emotion and dysfunction that that rightfully implies. This site is a window into the human condition, and a powerful reminder of how much lies hidden under the surface in the minds of the people you pass on the street or in the hallway at work each day. 

It's a forum for people to gawk and point and whisper, sure, and some of the postcards are probably fabricated purely out of the desire to shock. But, whether they mean to or not, these postcards can also stir compassion, offer points of connection and hope, and provide an often much-needed reality check. When I was struggling with depression it was good to remember that other people hurt too, and that in a lot of ways I wasn't so badly off. Knowing that didn't change the nature of my depression, but it gave me a backdrop to keep it in perspective. Every type of secret you would ever imagine, and a few that you probably would never think up, will scroll across your screen on this site.

(Trigger Warning: As you might guess, the images and messages are often intense and sometimes not safe for work. Just a head's up...)

Post Secret showcases people who cater to the voyeurism and find freedom though the anonymous soul-baring, and now we'll look at the opposite... a site dedicating to peeking into the lives of people who probably will never be aware of our watching eyes.  Found Magazine is exactly what it sounds like... a collection of items that have been found. Photos, lists, notes, doodles, these various discarded or lost bits and pieces give us glimpses into the minds of individuals who are oblivious to our observation. From wedding photos from long ago, to a childishly scrawled note, these odds and ends add up to a lot more than fragments of paper that were left in a library book or fell out of a backpack. They're souvenirs of human experience, mementos of collective memory, and it would be a rare person who could scroll these pages without coming across one that rings true to him in a powerful way.

Entertainment, sure. Creepy? Sometimes. But these sites also provide connection with nameless strangers, and a sense of community despite anonymity. It's a way of remembering that we're all in this together, and we might as well try to help each other out for the ride. That's my take anyway... :) Enjoy the sites, and I'd love to know what y'all think of them!


  1. Yep. It's interesting to see the old letter exchanges from old authors and politicians. Sometimes they carried out life-long correspondance with people they'd only met briefly, and sometimes it was very intimate conversation. The internet of course makes it even easier to do this... for the world to see.

  2. How crazy that there's a site devoted to this...but it does sound interesting...


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